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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

FRED’S FIFTY

If Fred is going to pick one album a week, I’m going to lobby one album per week for his consideration. This week Fred picked ‘The Joshua Tree’; I think it was a good choice. In keeping with that era, I’d like to nominate R.E.M. for admittance in Fred’s Fifty. My personal favorite is ‘Green’, mostly because of ‘You Are The Everything’ and ‘11’, my two all time favorite R.E.M. songs, but the album does have a couple of songs that leave me flat, namely ‘World Leader Pretend’ and ‘Wrong Child’, so I wouldn’t call it their best. Many would cite ‘Automatic For The People’, and it does have ‘Everybody Hurts’ and a few other great songs, but greatness, to me, means consistency. The two albums that stack up in that vein are ‘Life’s Rich Pageant’, and ‘Document’. I have a hard time picking between the two. ‘Life’s Rich Pageant’ offers ‘Begin The Begin’ followed by the awesome ‘These Days’, and the sublime ‘Fall On Me’. It contains elements of the truly weird, ‘Underneath The Bunker’, punk, ‘Just A Touch’, harmonious bliss, ‘Swan Swan H’, and pop songcraft, ‘Superman’. On the other hand, ‘Document’ features it’s own collection of killer tracks, and from the start of ‘Finest Worksong’ to the end of ‘Oddfellows Local 151’ there’s really not a moment of down time. Those two songs, ‘Fireplace’, and their cover of Pylon’s ‘Strange’ show off the bands ability to deliver searing rock, while ‘King Of Birds’ picks up where ‘Swan Swan H’ leaves off. Peter Buck displays his considerable banjo chops on ‘Lightning Hopkins’, and Stipe gives us social commentary on ‘Welcome To The Occupation’, ‘Exhuming McCarthy’ and ‘Disturbance At The Heron House’. As a whole, I think ‘Document’ would be their most consistent (no ‘Hyena”) and therefore best LP.

Comments:
I was thinking of lobbying Fred myself, so I will do it along with you instead of commenting on his blog. I like what you said about R.E.M., I think I would go with ‘Document’ as my favorite and most listenable R.E.M. album. I bought that one on vinyl, before I had a CD player. Back to lobbying, Beatles, there needs to be a Beatles album on the list. In the history of mankind as we know it there has never been a 50 greatest album list with out a Beatles album in the top 5, most list have two or three. Now the hard part, which one. My favorite and I think the most listenable, Abby Road. Sgt. Pepper is a classic and set the standard for modern day albums. Revolver and Rubber Soul are great examples of song writing; they changed the definition of what a pop song was, and still sound good today. The White Album has some of their best tracks on it and has always been a personal favorite. I still think song for song, Abbey Road is the best, but this is Fred’s list and it will be up to him, if he puts one on at all, which Beatles album he picks.
 
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